From crisp bits to tubular puffs, WSU researchers in collaboration with Agricultural Research Service scientists have developed crunchy, great-tasting snacks made with legumes.
 
The tasty edibles, made from garbanzos, lentils, dry peas and beans are also good for you.
 
WSU’s biological systems engineering scientist Juming Tang and food scientist Barry Swanson, in collaboration with ARS researcher Jose De J. Berrios of ARS’ Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., are seeking a patent for the technology that led to the low-sodium, low-fat, cholesterol-free foods. The snacks are also rich in protein and dietary fiber.
 
Some of the pre-market products have already been taste-tested by about 500 volunteers—most of whom gave the foods an enthusiastic “thumb’s up.” One snack made of crisp, fully-cooked garbanzos is ready to eat out-of-hand or could be tossed with a salad of leafy greens, sprinkled on a bowl of hearty soup, or added to traditional party mixes.
 
The scientists used a standard piece of food processing equipment, a twin-screw extruder, to make the snacks. Extruders are energy-efficient, fast and versatile, combining—into just one machine—several steps including mixing, cooking, shaping and other processes needed to convert legume flours into appealing snacks.
 
The USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, based in Moscow, Idaho, helped fund the research. Currently, ARS—the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency—is looking for industry partners to commercialize the nutritious snacks.
 
For more information, please visit:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2007/071114.htm